“And that’s how it goes, kids. The friends, neighbors, drinking buddies, and partners-in-crime you loved so much when you’re young — as the years go by, you just lose touch. You will be shocked, kids, when you discover how easy it is in life to part ways with people forever. That’s why when you find someone you want to keep around, you do something about it.”
— Ted Mosby, How I Met Your Mother 9×21 “Gary Blauman”
The last time I talked with The Sheep, he said something near the end of our conversation that has stuck with me.
“I’m still really looking forward to talking with you and hanging out, Karsh. Just don’t fade away on me.”
“Fade away? What do you mean?”
“You know…stop calling, stop texting…you just fade away.”
“I won’t fade away if you don’t.”
I called The Sheep two more times after that, and he never returned my messages. I texted him and he never replied.
But I was the one who wasn’t supposed to fade away, right?
Truth be told, I’m like the “Bruce” Leroy Green of fading away. (Sho’nuff.) But it’s been as a form of self-preservation, mostly.
Por ejemplo, let’s say I have a fairly long-standing friendship with someone. We meet up every week or so, go to dinner or brunch or drinks or something, and have a fairly good time. I’m calling them to see if they’re free, picking the location and the time and day, and get voted down often on where to go and when. We finally decide on a place, meet up, eat, drink, be merry, then go our separate ways.
For me, that situation gets tired quickly because a) I get tired of always planning shit with my already hectic schedule and b) see a). Show some initiative, for fuck’s sake.
So what do I do? I stop calling to set up these little soirees. For whatever reason, they don’t call me to set anything up.
Weeks go by. Then months. Then nothing.
That, ladies and germs, is your fade away.
But is it necessary? Can it be avoided? Sure — the other person just has to get on their shit and realize you’re not there to run up behind them. Ego gets in the way here — who wants to be seen as wrong? — but recognizing the situation is the next step to fixing it.
Or in this case doing nothing.
Communication is the lifeblood of any relationship. Once one person stops it, that’s when the relationship withers and dies. Call that fading away or whatever, but the shit happens.
It’s like second nature for me. The minute I sense that imbalance in communication, I reflexively pull back to see if the other person will catch it. If they don’t, I’ll usually bring it up to them so they’re cognizant of how they’re not playing their part.
Then I wait.
And what usually happens is that they don’t make any effort and then I get branded as some kind of jerk for not calling or texting or tweeting or Facebooking or whatever. (Sidenote: Using social media as a reason why someone should be kept up with everything you’re doing is lazy. You’re not that fucking important.)
Who has the time? It’s not like I want these people to fade away. But I’d also like to not be the only one keeping the relationship going.
Surely there’s some sort of balance that can be struck between these two extremes.
But in the mean time…